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Highlights of Cambodia in 12-Day Itinerary

Hit the road and discover the wonderful diversity of Cambodia with this Highlights of Cambodia Tour. Loop around the country from temple-laden Siem Reap to the glittering capital of Phnom Penh. In between, explore the southern beaches, rugged mountains and vast swaths of countryside that make up the heart of Cambodia.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • City tour of Siem Reap & Phnom Penh exploring the most exciting site of the charming capital
  • Ox cart ride tour to experience up close to the real rural life
  • Boat trip explore the amazing Tonlé Sap Lake and surrounding floating villages
  • Stay on the southern beaches and explore the rivers, jungles and mountains of Cambodia’s southwest region.

Unforgettable moments

  • Magnificent temples of Angkor, and the impression is forever imprinted in your memory
  • Meet friendly locals and discover traditional village customs and cultures.
  • Bustling street life and creative vibe in Phnom Penh
  • The peaceful beauty of the southern beaches

Nature exploration

  • The beauty of the hidden temples of the ancient city of Siem Reap
  • The amazing and peaceful scenery of the countryside of Cambodia
  • The beauty of Tonle Sap lake and the floating villages
  • The peaceful beauty of the southern beaches

Culture experience

  • Understand Cambodia’s history through tours that explore the glorious ancient Khmer empire
  • Learn about Khmer cuisine while enjoying good food in Siem Reap
  • Experience local culture & the life of Cambodian people
     

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Siem Reap

Upon your arrival in Siem Reap, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel for check in. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.
You will have dinner at Marum Restaurant Set in a delightful wooden house with a spacious garden, and featuring a winning mix of creative local cuisine, Marum is named after the Moringa, or 'Tree of life'. Your visit not only gives you an incredible dining experience, but also helps build a new life for the students in training there! Part of the Tree Alliance group of training restaurants, they provide vocations into the hospitality industry for local street kids and disadvantaged youths.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
 

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Day 2 - Siem Reap - Temples

Experience the temples of Angkor in a different way today by a bike tour with customized ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk) back up and assistance. A guide will accompany you on bicycle as well.
The ‘remork’ will collect you at the hotel in the morning for a short ride to the outskirts of town. You will then be debriefed by an operational staff member who will check your bicycle and fitting. Set off on the first stretch to Angkor Wat where your bike will stay with the remork driver. You will enter and exit Angkor Wat from different entrances and the bikes will be transferred in between so there is no need for you to backtrack. 
First enjoy the magnificent Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods.
After leaving Angkor Wat continue cycling to continue to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. Enter the city and cycle to the exact center where the Bayon Temple is located. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its numerous towers with enigmatic faces looking out over the far-flung provinces of the Great Khmer Empire.
Leaving Bayon, cycle on past The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King before arriving at Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. Again at Ta Prohm the remork will pick you up at a different point to where you enter. From there it’s a short cycle or remork ride to Sra Srang, once the royal bathing pool. Continue cycle along quieter routes with rice paddies and beautiful Cambodian countryside all around. 
The road follows north before arriving at the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. 
After Banteay Srei the remork will transfer you for a relaxing cruise in a gondola paddle boat at the moat of Angkor Thom compound. Enjoy gliding gently along, as the sun begins to set. The boat will arrive close to the historical ruins of Prasat Chrung with a viewpoint where the sun sets over the countryside.
Cruise back to the Angkor Thom gate and transfer back to your hotel by remork.
This evening you will be picked up by your guide by local remok (tuk tuk) from the hotel and zip off the usual tourist trail straight into foodie heaven. Your local guide will then take you to uncover hidden treasures and areas favored by locals to sample some of Cambodia’s lesser known cuisine!

Notes

Some deviation from the route is possible as the temples being passed are all included in the Apsara tour pass which is included in the cost already. Cycling distance is 40km though this can be shortened by using the remork to travel if required.

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Day 3 - Siem Reap Exploration

Today experience an incredible tour to learn about life in a typical Cambodian village, meet friendly locals and discover traditional village customs and cultures.
Guests will be picked up from their hotel early morning by the local guide and driven to Ta Brak village, 25 minutes out of town. A western packed breakfast from the hotel will be taken and on arrival will meet and sit down with a local family and share this breakfast with them and to learn about local village life early in the morning when generally it is at its most active.
From here a 30 minute ox cart ride through the village will take you to a local market where a short walk through this bustling center will introduce you to Cambodian vegetables, herbs, fruits and other local produce. Continue 1km by foot through the picturesque countryside village, stopping off to meet the local community along the way to observe whatever seasonal activity is happening at that time, such as rice planting, weaving thatch roofs, planting or harvesting vegetable crops, making fish traps etc. Each tour will be different and the activities will depend on the time of the year, the family, and the needs of the local village. The surrounding countryside with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees is very typical for Cambodia.
End the morning at the local pagoda where a special water blessing by Buddhist monks await.
From here make a stop at the 9th Century Bakong Temple, part of the Roluos group and a site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalaya, before continuing on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. The Tonlé Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and officially designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, covering an area of roughly 2,500 km2, swelling to about 4 times it size in during the wet season: 10,000 km2!
Travel out to Kampong Phluck, a village a bit further away but which receives very fewer tourists. Thus, this stilted village is the best place to see the authentic life of the local fisherman and their families who live amongst the flooded mangrove forest. At Kampong Phluck, board a local boat for a ride on the lake.  On the way, you will see houses on stilts that are submerged with the lake extends, pass by floating houses and impressive flooded forests and get a good feel for life on the water.
In one of the floating houses, a delicious lunch will be prepared for you. Enjoy the beautiful scenery dominated by the tranquility of the lake.
This evening attend a performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’. Starting at 8pm, professional artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) will perform an inspiring show suitable for people of all ages. The hour long show mixes traditional and modern theater, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society. Student performances can still be seen twice weekly in Battambang but now the circus has arrived in Siem Reap!
Overnight in Siem Reap.

Notes

Due to low water levels during the dry season, the boat trip is only possible from June to March. However an alternative floating village at Chong Kneas can be arranged instead or the stilted village can be visited by foot.

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Day 4 - Siem Reap - Flight to Phnom Penh

There is some free time this morning after breakfast. Later transfer to the airport for your midday flight to Phnom Penh (60 mins). On arrival in the Cambodian capital you will be welcomed by a local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel for check in.
Phnom Penh was once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.
After a relaxing break, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour of the historical French Quarter in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. Continue to visit the Royal Palace built during the French colonial period. The same complex houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5,000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze. Also stop to visit the National Museum, which was built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries.
In the evening board the Bopha Phnom Penh boat for shared dinner cruise that will take you along the Tonlé Sap and Mekong rivers. You will have a wonderful view of the riverfront and the Phnom Penh skyline over dinner.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.

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Day 5 - Phnom Penh - Tour

This morning you will take a fascinating tour to explore the culinary delights of Cambodia. Not as well-known as the neighboring countries, Cambodia has a great variety of national dishes and there are many stories to be told by your guide. 
This morning you will travel from the hotel to the market, as many buyers will do to make their purchases. Walk through the aisles as the guide explains the different fruits, herbs and vegetables and how they are used in Khmer cuisine.
Try some seasonal, local fruits along the way. The walking tour will last about 2 hours before continuing to a local restaurant which uses many of the ingredients seen at the market. Various dishes are ready cooked and French-style baguettes (num pang) and the tasty nom banh chok can be ordered. Ideal for foodies and lovers of local, non-touristy experiences.
After lunch you will have a little time to browse through the Russian Market, the best place in the city for wood and stone carvings, jewellery, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs, before gaining insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. Further visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. The audio headset guide provided is available in 15 different languages and gives some harrowing but informative stories from survivors and liberators of the camp. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better.
Late afternoon head to the riverside area of Phnom Penh, a pleasant French style promenade that is great for people viewing. In the early evening (and morning) various activities take place include exercise classes, Khmer dancing and plenty of snacking on local food. You can participate in a Khmer dance class which is a lot of fun for all! From here you can either be taken back to your hotel or left to explore this bustling area independently and have dinner at one of the many great restaurants on the riverfront.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.

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Day 6 - Phnom Penh - Kep

This morning, you will leave Phnom Penh in a southern direction for Takeo Province.
On the way, you will visit Phnom Chisor, where you can climb up to the top of the mountain to explore the well-preserved ruins of a 10th century Angkorian temple. Enjoy an amazing view over the typical Cambodian countryside. 
Board a fiberglass motorboat in Takeo that will zip you along an ancient canal to the archaeological museum of Angkor Borei and the temple ruins of Phnom Da. On the way, you will have the chance to see rural life in Cambodia.
Continue to Kep. Cambodia’s prestigious seaside resort of the 1960s is now awakening to its former glory. The small town offers reminders of the past and a growing choice of activities including island trips, a national park and the famous crab market.
Overnight in Kep.

Notes

Due to low water levels during the dry season, so in the dry season we can access the archaeological museum of Angkor Borei and the temple ruins of Phnom Da by car, the boat trip is only possible from June to March.

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Day 7 - Kep - Day at leisure

Enjoy your day at leisure. As you wander around Kep keep an eye out for the decaying 1960s villas and the royal residence which are reminders of Kep’s heyday as a high society seaside retreat that was abandoned during the Khmer Rouge time. Some have been restored whilst others are in a state of disarray – perhaps destined to become a boutique hotel.
Overnight in Kep.

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Day 8 - Kep - Sihanoukville

This morning pay a visit to the popular Kep crab market and see them being stored in baskets in shallow water and being cooked in the market itself. Learn from your guide which are the best and tastiest crabs to select. The market is busiest at weekends and holidays but is fun at any time. The dozen-plus rickety old wooden shacks that hug the water’s edge next to the market serve fresh seafood at its best.
Leave Kep in the direction of Kampot. Driving past the pretty Secret Lake you will arrive at La Plantation, a family owned pepper plantation. Kampot pepper was first documented by Chinese explorers in the 1200’s but first came to prominence in the 1800’s as the high quality product reached Paris. Take a tour of the pepper plantation and learn about the difference between green, black, white and red peppers. 
Continue on your way to reach Kampot town. Take a break to stretch your legs in this charming riverside town with magnificent surroundings still dominated by French colonial architecture.
The final transfer is on to the beach town of Sihanoukville which you will arrive at in the late afternoon.

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Day 9 - Sihanoukville

Embark on a full day cruise to tropical islands on this coastal Sihanoukville tour. Depart from the mainland in the morning and cruise out to sea on a private wooden motorboat. Relax as the boat glides across clear blue waters on the way to nearby tropical islands.
Cambodia’s southern coast is not nearly as well-known as neighboring Thailand’s but it has equally beautiful beaches that are relatively undeveloped and generally free from crowds. Today’s trip will include several Cambodian islands, such as Koh Chaloh, Koh Tres, and Koh Ta Kiev.
Stop at one island or another to alternatively swim in the sea and soak in the sun. There are plenty of chances to snorkel, enjoying colourful fish that live in these waters. Walk along a long, sandy beach and explore the rugged island jungles if you wish. At midday, indulge in a delicious seafood barbecue on the beach and relax in the shade of a coconut tree before returning to Sihanoukville in the afternoon, arriving 4-5pm.
Overnight in Sihanoukville.
 

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Day 10 - Sianoukville - Koh Kong

This morning after breakfast at the hotel, transfer directly from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong (3½hrs).
After arriving at Tatai Bridge, transfer by shared boat (approximately 20 mins) to tonight’s accommodation: a peaceful retreat with overwater tented villas, set on a quiet bend in the river with the lush Cardamom Mountains serving as the idyllic backdrop.
Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring the river by kayak, swimming in the clear waters, or fishing from the villa’s private terrace. Wildlife is abundant here: look out for colorful butterflies and bizarre-looking insects as well as some of the 550+ bird species found in this area (such as brahminy kites or great hornbills!) In the evening, take a short boat trip where fire flies fill the night sky.
Overnight in Koh Kong Province

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Day 11 - Koh Kong

Today spend a relaxing day on a private excursion. Your day, depending on the tide, starts at around 10am for the 45-minute boat ride past Tatai village to the falls. A local English speaking guide will lead the tour.
Turning on to a tributary you head into the heart of the Cardamom jungle to the far-off sounds of exotic birds and its secretive wildlife. Within minutes you are at journey’s end, gazing down into the turbulent waters of the falls. Soon it’s time for your picnic lunch, maybe a few moments hydro-massage and a refreshing drink as you find some shade for a picnic and relax amongst the sights and sounds of the jungle. Kayaks are available for the last stretch to add some fun and adventure or you can stay on board the boat. 
The late afternoon is free at leisure for you to relax or do some more kayaking or fishing.
Overnight in Koh Kong Province.

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Day 12 - Koh Kong - Phnom Penh - Departure

Enjoy some time at leisure until your transfer out by boat direct transfer to Phnom Penh airport for your departure flight (5h) or continue over land to Thailand.

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We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Cambodia, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Cambodia
Siem Reap
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Tonle Sap Lake
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One of the most fish abundant lakes in the world and supports 360 floating villages and thousands of waterbirds.

Phnom Penh
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Battambang
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Sihanoukville
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Koh Rong Island
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Cambodia PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury Holiday
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Cruise
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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Cycling & Biking
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Honeymoon Vacation
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

Cambodia PLANS BY TIME FRAME
white-icon About 1 week
yellow-icon About 1 week
white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
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Cambodia TRAVEL TIPS & GUIDE

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Cambodia BLOG ARTICLES

How long to spend in Cambodia may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out. 

How long can you stay in Cambodia? 

Well, as long as you like! From 7 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Cambodia and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Cambodia is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Cambodia with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Cambodia.

...more

After nearly two years of restricting international arrivals as part of Covid-19 prevention measures, Cambodia yesterday become the first country in Southeast Asia to drop the requirements for both pre-travel PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and on-arrival rapid antigen test for fully vaccinated travellers into the Kingdom.

...more

Cambodia has abolished the need for a PCR negative test obtained 72 hours before arrival and rapid test upon arrival in Cambodia. They also enable to visa-on arrival system on the strike to facilitate the reopening process of the tourism sector as reported on March 17th, 2022.

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Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who is well known to Cambodians, has returned to the Kingdom for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020.

In the past, the American film star directed the film First They Killed My Father here after starring in Tomb Raider, released in 2001, which is considered the first international movie in modern times to introduce the wonder of Angkor Wat to a wider, western audience.

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The below article is written by Reece Ferguson from Khmer Night about the experience with a visit to Siem Reap recently in the "new normal". Check it out to know what to expect if you are planning to visit Cambodia in the "new normal" in 2022.

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Siem Reap has really gone through the wars lately, with lockdown’s and “Red Zones” seriously impacting the city. The lockdown is though now over, meaning this might well be your last chance to visit a truly empty Angkor Wat.

Every now and again you get a job-perk, so when Khmer Nights were invited to test out a new tourism app in Siem Reap, we jumped at the chance. Visiting the floating village on Tonle Sap and Angkor Wat were duly picked as our personal tour choices and we got ready to embark on a mini-adventure.

When the crisis is over, you need this guide to visit Angkor Wat without the crowds

...more
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Thailand
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It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
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